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Thread: Fixing the Drip-O-matic

  1. #21
    Boolit Buddy AllanD's Avatar
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    I recently bought a replacement "pin" and seat from Lee and I'm thinking that having one coated with
    stellite (a chromium/cobalt coating normally used on performance engine exhaust valves) then lapping it to
    the seat is a permanent solution to the problem.

    if I cannot get anyone willing to Grind me a tungsten valve pin.
    The hard part is grinding threads on the upper end...

    I have some Uranium rod stock but I absolutely refuse to grind it, I'm not into heavy metal poisoning...

    I also have some 5/8" Hastelloy rod stock so I could make a new seat out of something nearly indestructible...

  2. #22
    Boolit Master


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    I am certainly in the club with those who have Lee pots that drip. I’m not sure I understand which pot the Op is talking about. Mine is a 20# pot and the lever goes up and down vertically besides the pot. I see pictures of a different type. Is it newer or older? Or just a different model?

    My pot drips often, but if I play with the screw or jiggle it I can get it to stop, most of the time. If I am in the groove and all boolits are good, I just let it go and then put the drips back in the pot with a pair of pliers.

  3. #23
    Boolit Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregLaROCHE View Post
    I am certainly in the club with those who have Lee pots that drip. I’m not sure I understand which pot the Op is talking about. Mine is a 20# pot and the lever goes up and down vertically besides the pot. I see pictures of a different type. Is it newer or older? Or just a different model?

    My pot drips often, but if I play with the screw or jiggle it I can get it to stop, most of the time. If I am in the groove and all boolits are good, I just let it go and then put the drips back in the pot with a pair of pliers.
    The pot I'm referring to is the 4-20 and it has the handle that operates vertically on the side of the pot.
    I fixed the dripping issue by polishing/lapping the lower tip of the rod and the nozzle. For the most part, that eliminated the dripping.

    However, the shoulder bolt that limits the upward travel of the handle continued to work loose. That screw is nothing more than a short sheet metal screw with an unthreaded shank above the threads. The threads sort of engage an aluminum channel on the interior of the side plate and there's just not much material there for the threads to bite into. It's a poor design.

    The metering rod that controls the flow of lead through the nozzle could stand to be a bit heavier but as other posters have shown, it's not hard to make it heavier. Lapping the rod and nozzle is also a good fix. As for that crappy little sheet metal screw that limits the upward travel of the rod..........Lee could not have made that part cheaper if they tried; and Lee really knows how to make things cheap.

  4. #24
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    ShooterAZ's Avatar
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    I "rebuilt" my 4-20 a few times, I had the same problem with the cheezy screw races working loose and stripping out. It served me well enough I guess. In the end I bought a RCBS Pro-Melt and never looked back. I tinkered with it quite a bit before I tightened it all up and sold it off.

  5. #25
    Boolit Man
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    Not a fix but a work-around: Since I get better .45 bullets with ladle casting I just dedicate the Lee 4-20 to this process and maybe will plug the valve hole before too long to get the valve parts out of the way of the ladle.

  6. #26
    Boolit Buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Petrol & Powder View Post
    The pot I'm referring to is the 4-20 and it has the handle that operates vertically on the side of the pot.
    I fixed the dripping issue by polishing/lapping the lower tip of the rod and the nozzle. For the most part, that eliminated the dripping.

    However, the shoulder bolt that limits the upward travel of the handle continued to work loose. That screw is nothing more than a short sheet metal screw with an unthreaded shank above the threads. The threads sort of engage an aluminum channel on the interior of the side plate and there's just not much material there for the threads to bite into. It's a poor design.

    The metering rod that controls the flow of lead through the nozzle could stand to be a bit heavier but as other posters have shown, it's not hard to make it heavier. Lapping the rod and nozzle is also a good fix. As for that crappy little sheet metal screw that limits the upward travel of the rod..........Lee could not have made that part cheaper if they tried; and Lee really knows how to make things cheap.
    Having the same problem, thinking of putting a hi-temp putty in the screw channel for the threads to have more grip. The bottom screw loosens up about every 50 to 100 uses, really gets aggravating when in a good casting groove and trying to cast a lot of boolits. Just did what you did peened the screw channels to make them catch more metal and hopefully that will hold for a while.
    Last edited by owejia; 05-04-2019 at 05:29 PM.

  7. #27
    Boolit Buddy
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    You must lap the valve seat with the value rod and lapping compound.
    Also the LEE valve rod is too light, its nearly floating in the melt. I hung a large nut over the flow control just to add weight to force the rod down.
    Now it only drips if dirt gets in the valve, but I can clear that easily.

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    jimkin,

    I like that!

    +10!

    Three44s
    Socialism works great until you run out of zoo animals to eat!

  9. #29
    Boolit Man

    Ranger 7's Avatar
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    I have two Lee 4/20 pots, purchased in 2009.
    They have processed 2,000 pounds of range scrap into 1 & 1/2 pound ingots.
    They have, so far, produced about 14,00 bullets ( 380, 9mm, 45, 38).
    Two years ago I cleaned both by using Emory cloth to return the in side of the pots to bright metal and scraped out the bottom pour nozzle and reseated the release shaft & nozzle.
    I also removed the sides and squeezed the metal the screw enters to tighten up the threads.
    No more leaking, both are still in use producing bullets.
    Do not see how they are not bargains! Other pots are up to 5 times the price. And from posts, they drip!
    I also have a Lyman 45, works great! But it cost me much more (I wanted a PID controlled unit).
    To top it off, I wound up building my own PID unit using the parts list posted by one of the members here.
    I apologize to him for not remembering his name. He used top of the line parts (Auberns), so did I .
    Still working great and the close temp control is great.

  10. #30

    Fixed My Lee 4-20 pot Leak Today

    Today was a Christmas in June . I got 2 USPS packages 1 from Titan Reloading https://www.titanreloading.com/lee-p...d-melter-parts containing a inner Lee pot without a spigot EL3021 and Lee valve rod EL3427 for my 4-20 pot that's been leaking bad. I tried the coupling nut on the top of the rod trick by Backyard Inventor on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAx_wiD7-EA but it did not work. The original valve rod was not ground right I tried to regrind it but it is a rounded radius grind not a simple angle grind of about 45 degrees.. It was not ground as such all the way around as the pic shows if I got it up right here. I cleaned the spout with a pin that's used to close a turkey when its stuffed bent into a L on one end and the inside of the spout on the pot side best I could. Then I slightly lapped the rod and spout with Permatex valve grinding compound and filled it with 3 pounds of alloy from my lee 10 pound Production pot. The result was no leaking . It did offer a single drip when I turned it off and it cooled. I cast a couple dozen 250 grain .45 cowboy bullets and went to Greentop down in Richmond Va and bought a new Ruger Vaquaro .45 Colt to match my Ruger New Blackhawk .45 Colt so I will soon be out on the range and happy I got the Lee working as I was about to order a Magma Master Pot on Monday. It was a difficult choice I tell you The Master Pot Or The Ruger but I would have done well either way still Im glad I got the Lee working right .Attachment 243264
    Last edited by Keith 429421; 06-08-2019 at 09:35 PM. Reason: misspelled word

  11. #31
    I ordered the new inner Lee pot without a spigot hole so if I could not get the pot to quit leaking I would turn it into a casting pot and use it to mix flux and clean alloy and would have ordered the Master Pot. and kept the 10 pound production pot for linotype or Lyman #2 for rifle bullets only as I don't cast many of those at a session. Yes that pot leaks too and ill gently lap the valve rod on it too but a twist of the screwdriver slot will stop it form leaking for a several casts then it starts up again. I have to say Titan Reloading was really fast getting that order out to me with regular shipping , the same with Magma with everything Ive got from them . I have no complaints with Lee I have several of the Lee 2 and 6 cavity moulds. Mr Richard Lee was an inventive genius who's equipment helped so many getting into reloading on a budget as it did myself with my 30-30 Lee Loader I bought in 1973 for 9.95 and and entered into this fascinating enjoyable life time hobby. I still have that Lee Loader today.

  12. #32
    Boolit Buddy AllanD's Avatar
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    I bought a replacement inner pot off of ebay for less than lee wanted for one then I bought the valve pin and valve spigot from Lee, it is my intention to mate them using valve lapping compound (Carborundum paste) and see if that will dare to leak...

    I'd love to have someone grind me a tungsten valve rod....

  13. #33
    I also filed out the elongated hole on the operating handle "valve assembly" where it goes around the spout for extra clearence. It was a bit tight there and dragging on the side of the spout. Now it freely moves

  14. #34
    That's the one I wanted. Mgamas master pot .Next time some cash burns a hole in my pocket Ill get one !

  15. #35
    I was fast relying to the Master pot pic, still new here !

  16. #36
    My pot never dripped in the ten years that I have used it.
    Then I ran it dry and cleaned it and guess what, now it drips. UGGGGG

  17. #37
    Keith 429421, you do know that the replacement parts at Lee are free after you put them ion your cart, you just pay shipping and handling

    You can get the:
    VALVE ROD EL3427
    POT 20LB STANDARD EL3474
    20 POT VALVE(SPOUT) EL3451
    7/16-20 HEX JAM NUT FE3464

    for - Please allow up to 14 business days for delivery. ($13.11) shipping and handling directly from Lee

    https://leeprecision.com/parts/bulle...-4-20lb-parts/

    I've found that there are 2 factors that cause the EL3444 #6 Shoulder Bolt the EL3426 Valve Arm Assembly slides up and down on to come loose
    1) we push up to hard
    2) the EM1120 Valve Knob sticks out too far from the EL3426 Valve Arm Assembly. I shortened the FE3463 832x1 Carriage Bolt that attaches the knob to the arm and lift putting my finger as close to the arm assembly as possible putting less stress on the shoulder bolts

    Last edited by Conditor22; 06-09-2019 at 02:05 AM.

  18. #38
    Boolit Master
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    Easy solution for me....I gave the leaking *** away.

  19. #39
    Boolit Grand Master
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    The rod and the nozzle are easy to lap and that will fix most of the dripping problems. A little extra weight on the rod will fix the remaining drips.
    However - that CHEAP sheet metal screw that, I guess.....threads??? into a small aluminum channel in the side plate is JUNK. I'll eventually make some type of bracket and pin that replaces that crappy screw.

    I have to agree with Ranger 7 that the Lee 4-20 pot is a good overall bargain but it can be aggravating at times. Typical of most Lee products, they found a way to hit a price point and they had to sacrifice some quality to get there. That little shoulder bolt/sheet metal screw is just one of those little things done to cut production costs that could have been made so much better for just a little bit of money.

  20. #40
    Thanks for the info Conditor . I thought I had it , but today it leaked again , not so bad. I had it filled 3/4 up I had "Backyard Inventor" YouTube coupling on it and then removed that and adjusted the rod and it was better but still leaking. Ill change it over to the ladle pot . And use the 10 pound production pot. It also leaks but not that bad and use a thrift store SS small ladle to refill it from the 20 pound 4-20. I have never used a casting ladle I use muliti cavity moulds and I like and will stick with a bottom pour . I wish RCBS and Lyman did not change their melters. I would have bought the Lyman Mag 20 or the RCBS Pro Melt with 20 pound capacity and regular T stat controls . I remember the old 60's -70s Lyman pots that were 45- 50 dollars , then expensive top of the line classic bullet proof melters and looked like todays Master Pot with the valve system and T stat but less capacity. Im not a fan of digital electronic controls unless their well proven on a 300 dollar melter. Which is more money then I want to spend if they don't hold up but Im sure they can be changed to a T stat I also don't like any PIDs in the pot and am not sure how these two are set up. The Master Pots outside the pot is what ive heard. My crystal casting ball tells me a Magma Master Pot is in my very near future

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check